Phrases like “shoeing is abusive” or “horses are barefoot in the wild” can easily sway inexperienced horse owners to keep their unsound horses trimmed instead of reaping the benefits of shoeing. Anybody that is any good at anything knows there is never “only 1 way” to do something! Trimming and shoeing horses are no exception.
Techniques used on one horse may not work on another horse. Trimming and shoeing guidelines are developed by professionals with decades of experience. Studies on angles, depth of sole, breakover, flight phase and landing phase are crucial in understanding hoof biomechanics.
Lack of finances could be a reason to pursue keeping a horse barefoot, but barefoot trimming may not be conducive to the horse’s performance. Novice riders that do not have the feel to detect lameness should be aware of the type of footing their barefoot horse is required to work in. Horses may respond differently to variances in footing and riders must become sensitive to the wear and tear they are causing the feet.
On the other hand, more experienced riders might be able to accurately evaluate soundness when the horse is being ridden. They may know what to look for in a quality trim and their horses may do quite well under the right circumstances.
The post goes on to list the pros and cons of barefoot trimming. It’s a well balanced blog post and I’d recommend it to any horse owners considering making the switch to barefoot.
The full post is on the farriersnotebook blog